The Wedding-Cake UFOs

The event of Oct. 22, 1980. Around 11:30 that morning the gaudy, extravagant looking craft seen in the photo on the left, Fig. 1,
 Fig. 1. Wedding-cake craft hovering
at the F.I.G.U. Center. Photo #800.
Click for enlarged version.
came and hovered very low over the parking place at the F.I.G.U. Center in Schmidrüti, Switzerland. From what Meier was told, this was one of a new series of ships that the Plejarens had recently developed. Because of its three tiers of decorative spheres, it has become known as the wedding-cake UFO, or WCUFO. In taking the pictures, Meier stood with his back to a structure called "the carriage house" (see Fig. 2), whose image shows up reflected from the attached sphere-like structures (see enlarged version of Fig. 1). It might at first be thought that these highly reflecting structures around the craft's perimeters had perhaps been Christmas-tree ornaments on a model UFO. However, the reflecting convex surface on the far left in the middle tier of "spheres" is seen to be a hemisphere, not a sphere. The carriage house seen in the reflections is located 90 ft (27.5 m) and more from the main residence. If Meier was standing just in front of the carriage house, with his back to it as he took this picture, then the camera equation indicates the craft was about 25 ft (7.7 m) away if 3.5 m in diameter, or 12.5 ft away (3.8 m) if half that diameter again (1.75 m diameter). Thus his own image doesn't show up in the spheres' reflections, as it might have if he had been situated some 3 ft away from a small model UFO. Meier's Verzeichnis doesn't mention the diameter of the craft, and from what he learned from his entire series of photo ops in 1980-81, his contactors used three such craft of identical appearance at different times, of diameters 3.5 m, 7 m and 14 m. However, as we shall see, this may have been an instance when they utilized a fourth one – a small, remotely controlled craft only 1.75 m (5.7 ft) in diameter.

A view of the area from above is shown in Fig. 2, taken from part way up the hillside overlooking the Center in August of 1981. The main residence is on the right, and the structure on the left is the converted carriage house.
 Fig. 2. The Meier residence in 1981 viewed from overlooking hillside. The carriage house is on the left,
and faces northeast. From a FIGU postcard.

Meier's location when taking photo #800. On this particular morning in 1980 no one else was around but Meier, and there were no cars parked in the open area between the two buildings. Judging from the reflection of the end of the carriage house on the spheres of photo #800, Meier was located with the carriage house behind him. He didn't show up in the reflections because of the dark background of the carriage house. How close was he to the carriage house? From the photo, Fig. 1, one can find his approximate location, which shows a close alignment with the edge of the curved, low rock wall and with the right-hand edge of the main residence. (The latter is barely eclipsed by the curving edge of the low rock wall.) This location was checked out by Christian Frehner of FIGU to be a spot close to the center of the wall of the carriage house.

Accordingly, a plan-view drawing of the layout is shown in Fig. 3 below. In it, the upper of the four green lines connects the camera location with a point directly underneath the left-hand corner of the overhanging eave, which is seen in photo #800.
 Fig. 3. Approximate plan view of the carriage house, camera location, main residence and the low rock wall.
Lower windows of the main residence, seen in photo #800, are accented in blue. Position of superimposed
UFO is discussed below. Geometry and draftsmanship by J.P. Lagasse.

The lower of the four green lines aligns the camera location, the curving edge of the low rock wall and the right-hand side of the main residence, as seen also in photo #800. The two distances from the two corners of the carriage house to the two points shown of the main residence are depicted in orange; they were measured by Christian Frehner of F.I.G.U. using a 20-m tape measure, along with the widths and lengths of the carriage house and main residence. These measurements allowed the main residence to be positioned quite accurately relative to the carriage house. Its northeast wall as it appears today is shown in Fig. 4.
 Fig. 4. Recent (2006) photo of the NE end of refurbished
carriage house shot from near the SW corner
of the main residence. Photographer Michael Horn.
In Fig. 3 the wedding-cake craft has been drawn in so that only a small piece of its northern edge extends past the uppermost green line, in accordance with photo #800. The edge of its south facing rim lines up with the green line joining the camera to the right-hand side of the 2nd window, also as in the photo. Without more information, however, its distance from the camera or the carriage house, as positioned between these lines, is undetermined.

We have two independent estimates of how far from the far corner, or north corner, of the carriage house Meier was when holding the camera, such as to give the near alignment in photo #800 of the edge of the curving rock wall with the right-hand edge of the main residence. The estimate by Frehner, as noted, places it near the center of the carriage house wall, about 15 ft from its north corner. The other, by another F.I.G.U. member, places it about only 4 ft from this corner. In the diagram of Fig. 3 above, a compromise distance of 10 ft has been taken.

From photo #800 (Fig. 1) we may derive an independent estimate of how far away Meier was from the main residence by using the camera equation and knowing the dimensions of a lower window, say. The heights of these windows (their glass or window opening) was measured by Frehner to be 120 cm. Let us focus upon the 2nd narrow window (80 cm in width) past the two wide windows (or windows with shutters), which shows up just above the right-most sphere in the UFO's lowest tier in the photo. The camera equation is:

D = (f/h) x H, where
D = Distance from camera to object in question;
f = focal length of camera = 55mm;
h = length of object's image on the 35mm film;
H = length of actual object = 120 cm.
My copy of photo #800, obtained in the mid-1980s, has a width of 132.9 ± 0.3mm, while the window height on this copy measures 6.3 ± 0.5 mm. Therefore, relative to the 36mm box width of the 35mm film, h is 1.71 ± 0.14 mm. Then D from above is 38.6 ± 3.1 m, or 126 ± 10 ft, with the 8% error due primarily to the uncertainty in the estimate of window height in the photo. From Fig. 3, the distance from camera to the window in question comes to 116 ft; if the estimated error is subtracted from the 126ft figure we do get 116 ft. Since Meier was outside the building's wall, this result suggests that he was right up against the wall. Hence the camera position in Fig. 3 has been set as close as possible to the northeast wall of the carriage house – just 1 ft away.

Distance of the wedding-cake craft from the carriage house. Using the ray-tracing technique, one may obtain a fair estimate of this distance. The camera level was about the same as that of the lower tier of spheres in photo #800, so that one may examine the image of the carriage house – its width – as it appeared at or near the "equator" of one of the closest spheres. The rays from the two sides of the northeast wall have already been drawn into Fig. 3, where they reflect from the closest sphere back to the camera.
 Fig. 5. Close-up of ray diagram at the closest sphere on the lower tier.
Draftsmanship by J.P. Lagasse.
This is shown in greater detail in Fig. 5. The two incoming green rays reflect back to the camera along the two inner blue lines, respectively, which gradually converge towards the left. The two red lines through the center of the sphere are the normals from which it can be seen from the orange labels that the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection. The width of the image seen on the sphere (or barely inside the sphere) has been indicated, along with the diameter of the sphere. Their ratio is R = 0.1783 units / 0.4576 units = 0.39 (or 0.3896) ; the 3rd and 4th digits are not significant, of course. This figure, 0.39 ± 0.02, is the same ratio as the width of the image of the carriage house to the sphere's diameter estimated from examination of photo #800. That is, the position for the wedding-cake craft in Fig. 3 was chosen such as to give R this particular value. (In so doing, it was noted that, at this approximate distance, a 10% increase in distance produces a 5% decrease in the ratio R.)

The asymmetry in the shape of the images of the N.E. end of the carriage house in photo #800 is seen from Fig. 3 to be explained by both Meier and the wedding-cake craft having been located closer to the north corner than the east corner.

From Figs. 3, 5 and photo #800, then, we find from ray tracing that the wedding-cake craft was between 13 and 16 ft away from the camera and carriage house. From the geometry of Fig. 3, its diameter then is between 5.5 and 6.9 ft, given the above uncertainty in distance. The possibility mentioned earlier, that the craft might be half again the size of the 3.5m craft, thus seems possible. If the camera equation is applied to the relative width of the craft on photo #800 assuming a distance of 14.6 ft, we find a diameter of 6.6 ft., in general agreement with the above. (If we instead assume a distance from the camera of 36 ft, say, then the craft's diameter would be found to be 16.3 ft.)

These 5.5ft to 6.9ft dimensions rule out the hypothesis of a model UFO craft of 1 to 3ft diameter proposed by various skeptics. For a hoaxer to secretly move a complicated 6ft model around on various occasions, keep its surfaces clean and highly reflective, and keep it hidden when not in use, seems out of the question.

It might be thought that another method could be used in estimating the craft's distance from the carriage house: the textbook equation for a spherical mirror. The basic equation for a convex spherical mirror is: 1/D + 1/di = 1/f, where D is the distance from the surface of the mirror to the object in question (the carriage house), di is the distance (reckoned negative) from the surface of the mirror to the object's image inside the mirror, and f is the mirror's focal length (reckoned negative) equal to one-half the mirror's radius of curvature. A second equation is the magnification (or diminution) equation: |di|/D = |wi|/wo, where wo is the size of some feature of the actual object, and |wi| is the size of the image of that feature (carriage house). Upon choosing a sphere of 1 ft diameter (results are not sensitive to this choice), and the feature of interest again to be the width of the end of the carriage house, we then have |wi| = 0.4 ft, from any of the more prominent spheres of Fig. 1. (I.e., the image of the carriage house's width occupies about 40% of the mirror's diameter.) The width of the carriage house, measured by Frehner, is 29 ft. Given the two equations and two unknowns, D and di, I then find that D = 17 ft (about 5.2 m). This large overestimate with respect to the results of ray tracing (6.2 ±0.7 ft) is probably attributable to spherical aberration associated with the large angle subtended by the image and its large distance from the mirror relative to the mirror's diameter. In textbook usage, the object lies close to the mirror and is not large in comparison to its radius of curvature, allowing the image to lie close to the focal point.

What does Meier say about this finding? By Meier's recollection, in 2006, the craft was not nearly so close to the carriage house, but rather, was about 11 meters (36 ft) away. At that distance, the present ray-tracing analysis indicates that the width of the carriage-house images in the spheres would be only about 0.24 of their diameter, not 0.39. And the wedding-cake craft's diameter would then be about 4.8 m (15 ft), unless the above analysis is seriously in error.

Material added Jan.-Apr., 2013. From a Google-Earth-map's aerial view of Hinterschmidrüti not available just a few years ago, I have noticed that the plan view of the carriage house and main residence of Fig. 3 above is very substantially in error.
 Fig. 5.5 Location of the WCUFO and of Meier & camera within his property
during his taking of photo #800, according to Zahi's analysis, in which
this is his Figure C6. The WCUFO is depicted by the red circle.
Relative to the carriage house, the main residence should have been positioned roughly 25 ft farther to the SE, and should be rotated clockwise roughly 15 degrees. This non-end-on view of the carriage house would then be seen reflected in the craft's spheres, which could better explain the asymmetry of its reflected image. The craft would then need to be positioned farther away from the carriage house and closer to the main residence, in order that the ray-tracing technique yield a ratio R as small as observed. Then the size of the craft would be found to be correspondingly greater than that deduced above, perhaps as large as 11.5 ft (3.5 m) in diameter. Hence any repeat of a ray-tracing analysis like that above needs to be done using a corrected plan view.

In March of 2013 a fresh and more thorough analysis was made by Rhal Zahi, in which a correct (from Google Earth) plan-form for Meier's residences was used, plus "Blender" software, which keeps track of all reflections on mirrored surfaces including spheres. From this he found that the WCUFO in photo #800 was some 3 m in diameter and 6 m distant from Meier's camera. In a second study, using a physical model of Meier's property and taking pictures of a reflecting sphere at various scaled distances from the model carriage house, Zahi found the WCUFO to be a little over 3 m in diameter and some 7 m distant from the camera. He further found that Meier and camera indeed had been located right next to the carriage house, as in Fig. 5.5 on the left. In both cases he proved that a model WCUFO of diameter like 1/2 m was far too small and would have had to be located too close to the carriage house to explain its size in the reflected images from the spheres in Meier's WCUFO photos. See Zahi's analysis.

The event of 26 March 1981. Early in the morning on this day Billy drove out in his little tractor to the near vicinity of Dürstelen, some 5 or 6 miles southwest of his residence at Schmidrüti. Behind his tractor he pulled a small van, which he had by then also acquired, in which he could carry his camera and video equipment. He had a mental-telepathy appointment for another photo opportunity of Semjase's beamship of the "wedding-cake" type.
 Fig. 6. Wedding-cake craft hovering in front of van.
Brightness-enhanced copy of photo in the FIGU website.
He then took a few pictures with his Ricoh camera and also took some videotape footage, but in haste, because joggers were already starting to come by. One of these photos is shown in Fig. 6 on the right. So Semjase soon departed, but then Billy found he could not start up his little tractor; it had become too highly affected, magnetized apparently, by the close proximity of the ship. The videotape he had shot was also rendered useless, though his ordinary film survived. Through telepathy with Semjase he explained the situation, whereupon she arranged to have another Pleiadian/Plejaren— Quetzal—come out with equipment with which he, Quetzal, would try to cure the problem. A couple hours later Quetzal showed up with some special equipment with which he fixed the tractor after a half hour, though not without three interruptions occurring when joggers approached; this caused him to "beam up" into his own craft hovering invisibly somewhere overhead before resuming work. This information comes from Meier's notes, which he published in his photo-log, or "Verzeichnis." The photo of Fig. 6 first gained international attention when published in Vol. 2 of UFO...Contact from the Pleiades, the 1983 photo-album book of Lee & Brit Elders.

Now if you examine the lighter stripes encircling the front side of the craft in a well focused photo of it, you find that the width of each strip is only about 20% of the width of an adjacent darker band. However, in the present photo, this ratio has expanded to about 80%, showing that the near edge of the craft is severely out of focus. Yet, if you follow the outer edge of the craft around to its rear side, next to where its view is blocked by the protruding underside structure, you find that this far edge is in good focus, as is the van, which for a height of 1.83m is estimated to lie about 26m away from the camera. This can only mean that the craft was large, and not any small model. If it had been a small model close to the camera, its far edge would also be strongly out of focus, when the focus setting is much greater than a few feet as it would have to be to put the van into good focus. We don't know, however, if this particular wedding-cake craft was of the 3.5m- or 7m-diameter variety, we don't know the f-stop setting Meier used at the time with the Ricoh camera, and we don't know the distance to best focus with much certainty. Hence we cannot estimate the depth of field with any certainty. But for a 3.5m craft, the camera equation indicates it was situated about 9.25m from the camera, with front edge about 7.5m away and rear edge 11m away. Then with parameters of: focus set at 15m, f-stop at 2.8, and the known focal length of 55mm, a depth-of-field formula yields good focus between 10.6m and 25.6m. This would leave the front edge of a 3.5m craft a couple meters too close to the camera to be in good focus, but would leave the rear edge in very good focus, and the van not in quite as good focus. This accords with the appearance of the photo.

However, if the craft had been a small model with a diameter of a typical garbage-can lid (22"), for example, its distance from the camera would be 4.7 ft, to produce an image occupying 62% of the width of a 35-mm film, as does the wedding-cake UFO. Then if the camera's focus is set at 7.0 ft, in order to bring the rear of the object into fairly good focus, and with the known focal length of 55mm, no f-stop setting will leave the front of the object in poor focus while leaving the van in rather good focus. For example, upon feeding these parameters along with an f-stop of 2.8 into the depth-of-field formula, one finds the nearest distance of good focus to be 6.6ft while the far distance of good focus would be 7.4 ft—giving a narrow depth of field, as expected. This would yield the front side of the assumed lid, which would be 3.7 ft away, in poor focus as desired, while leaving the rear side, 5.6 ft away, in good focus, also as desired. However, the van, which is some 75 ft away, would then be hopelessly blurred, lying far beyond the far distance of good focus. If the f-stop is increased to 11, then the depth of field only ranges between 5.7 ft and 9.0 ft, which would again leave the van hopelessly blurred.

Pictures of the craft between treetops. On 3 April 1981, Billy was allowed to take more photos (see Figs. 7-8 below), this time while he was on board Quetzal's Plejaren wedding-cake craft, according to Meier and his Verzeichnis. The photos are of a smaller but otherwise nearly identical wedding-cake type of craft. This was early in the afternoon, at a location some 15km SSW of his residence at Schmidrüti, hovering just above a section of a forest. Meier used just his Ricoh camera on this occasion.
 Fig. 7. Wedding-cake craft between two treetops
(lower center). Meier's photo No. 836.
 Fig. 8. Similar shot less than a minute later, No. 838.
Arrow denotes a secondary treetop shoot whose connec-
tion to the trunk lay below the photo's lower edge.
Apparently he could not have obtained clear photos had he been inside the craft. For the picture of Fig. 8, Quetzal's craft with Meier atop it had moved up right next to the nearer treetop, while the craft pictured had moved a little to the right, compared with Fig. 7. Before ignoring previous evidence to the contrary and assuming this to be a small model UFO, the skeptic should first consider that in the photo on the right (Fig. 8) the same nearer tree top is slightly out of focus while the wedding-cake craft and the same treetop behind it are in good focus. This suggests that the craft was situated an appreciable distance away from the nearer treetop.

We now use the camera equation and check this conclusion and Fig. 8 for consistency with the camera's depth of field. First we notice that the rear treetop is obviously of a mature conifer full of dense, multi-branched growth, and is in rather good focus for its small branches to show up so well; we estimate its outer diameter at the base of the photo in Fig. 8 to have been 5m, with branches extending out about 2.5m on each side. The camera equation then gives it a distance of 28.2m. If the hovering craft were of 3.5m diameter, its distance from the camera would be 24.9m. The slightly out-of-focus nearer tree's distance is found to have been 4.2m upon taking the longer cones of the Norway spruce to have a length of 7 inches. This places the 7m-diameter craft Meier was perched on very close to the nearer tree top, and locates the craft in the photo at a point just in front of the distant tree top. Upon utilizing the same depth-of-field formula as previously, we then find, for a focus distance of 10m and an f-stop of 11, that objects will be in good focus at distances beyond 4.8m. Hence, the far treetop, along with the wedding-cake craft, would both be in good focus, while the nearer treetop should be in somewhat poor focus, as observed. Thus this wedding-cake craft could indeed have been the 3.5m-diameter craft that Meier was told was remotely controlled. In his Verzeichnis, Meier refers to this craft as "a second ship," the first one being Quetzal's ship, on which Meier was situated.

If, instead, the pictured craft in Fig. 8 had been a model UFO of some 22-inch diameter, its distance from the camera would have been about 4m. With that as the distance of focus, the depth-of-field calculator predicts good focus for objects only between 2.8m and 7.0m distant, again using an f-stop of 11. This result, as well as those using any other f-stop setting, place not only the postulated model UFO but the nearer tree top both in good focus, but places the distant treetop in poor focus, again in contradiction to what is observed.

Although one would wish that Meier had pointed his camera downwards and had taken some pictures showing the forest as viewed from above plus the edge of the wedding-cake craft he was sitting on, it seems more likely that he was not permitted to do this than that he simply didn't think of it.

However, in Zahi's analysis, it is shown conclusively, from the reflections in the spheres, that Meier and camera, and the WCUFO he photographed, were at treetop level.

A peculiar event occurred soon after Meier took these pictures and Quetzal had taken the craft down for Meier to dismount. Quetzal took his ship back up and, accidentally or not, rammed it into the nearer tree of Figs. 7-8,
 Fig. 9. Top of the tree rammed by Quetzal's ship.
Forest in background. Meier's photo #862.
causing the tree to break off some 25m up, and causing its uppermost two meters to break off also. Meier realized the downed tree was the same one whose top he had just photographed, which the 3.5m craft was on the far side of (in Fig. 7). Considering this to be evidence that would substantiate the event, he mentally contacted Quetzal to ask if he, in his craft, could drag the downed portion of the tree to the edge of the forest where he could photograph it, and Quetzal obliged. After the wedding-cake craft had departed, Meier then took several photos of the downed tree, and especially of its uppermost portion, which he hauled back with him to his residence. Upon comparing Fig. 9 with Figs. 7-8, one can see that it is indeed the very same treetop in all three images.

However, the treetop is not the conclusive evidence Meier would have liked it to be, as the skeptic who ignores all the other supportive evidence could just claim that Meier had hacked off the treetop after the tree itself had been, for whatever reason, downed, and then stuck the treetop into the ground atop a hill to photograph along with a never-discovered UFO model dangling from a line just behind the treetop, using a distant treetop as background.

Yet the downed tree does add suggestive supportive evidence for several reasons. First, Meier's photos #851-854 (see #851, #852, #853) show the broken-off ends of the downed tree, and they show the bright fresh tan color of a recently opened healthy tree at the breaks and rips where it had indeed broken off; it definitely hadn't been sawed or chopped off. It takes tremendous force to break a tree off like that. Second, a hoaxer would have needed to be creative enough to have inserted a second, smaller treetop in the ground right next to the first one in order to simulate the complications of nature (see red arrow in Fig. 8). This secondary top shoot does not appear in Fig. 9, as its base lay some unknown meters below the upper break point. Third, it would not be at all simple for a hoaxer to locate an appropriate hilltop where he could erect a broken-off treetop such that no foreground grass or brush, and no background trees or hills, except the sky and a second treetop, would appear in the photos.

Nevertheless, the negative skeptic, upon ignoring the depth-of-field considerations and these other considerations, can claim that Meier and unknown assistants set up the broken tree top at the proper distances from the camera to achieve the pictures of Figs. 5 and 6. Thus one suspects it was no accident that Quetzal rammed his craft into the tree at appropriate spots. Otherwise, the skeptic would have been left with almost nothing at all to back up a desire that the episode be a grand hoax. A final consideration, however, is that no clever hoaxer, if arranging to have the top of a tree cut off for use in a hoax, would then show pictures of the severed tree top used in the hoax!
 Fig. 10. The small wedding-cake craft partially eclipsed
by fir tree. Cropped from Meier's photo #850 in Through
Space and Time
(Steelmark, 2004). Image enhanced
using Paint Shop Pro X to bring out contrast between
foreground fir and background forest.

Wedding-cake craft partially eclipsed by large fir tree. Only after the English version of Meier's Fotobuch came out did I become aware of his photo #850 as published in Through Space and Time: A Photo Journal of "Billy" Eduard Albert Meier (Tulsa, OK: Steelmark LLC, 2004, p. 114). (Meier's "Verzeichnis: Authentischer Farb-Photos" gives the date as 4 April, 1981, apparently in error.) See Fig. 10. This was in the hills in the general vicinity of the villages/towns of Auenberg, Egg, Girenbad and Hinwil, some 15 miles ESE of Zurich. Meier shot it around 2:30 pm, April 3, 1981 while standing on the top of his van, according to his 1999 Verzeichnis. One can see 5 or 6 separate main branches of the tree eclipsing most of the right-hand side of the craft, with more of its branches extending out to the tree's left side above the craft on up to the tree's top. According to Dr. Edward C. Jensen, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Elizabeth P. Ritchie Distinguished Professor, Forest Ecology and Natural Resources Education, Oregon State University:

"The portion of the tree above the potential UFO appears to me to be in the range of 6-10 feet. Although it's pretty fuzzy, there appear to be 5 or 6 whorls of branches with an average growth (and this is just an educated guess) of 1-2 feet between whorls." (March, 2006)
This 6-10 ft estimate of the height of the portion of the tree above the craft then translates to a height for the craft of 4 to 7 feet, and a diameter of 8.8-15.4 ft, or from 2.7 to 4.7 meters. This suggests that it was the same 3.5m craft as shown in Figs. 5 and 6 above, and hovering very close behind the tree.

Another opinion on the tree in question comes from Professor Emeritus Doug Brodie of the College of Forestry, Oregon State University.

"The tree is one of the European true firs -- Abies species. The picture has only a portion of the top of the crown 10 to 15 feet. There could be anywhere from 10 to 50 feet of tree bole below the picture." (March, 2006)

Zooming in on the craft in front of a distant tree. On the same day of 1981 (3 April, according to FIGU's video of it), and near the same place,
 Fig. 11. Meier's photo #843.
Quetzal arranged to have his remotely controlled craft hover in front of an isolated Norway spruce (picea abies) estimated by Meier as 15m in height. That day, again in the early afternoon, he utilized both his Ricoh camera and his Saba video camera. Fig. 11 on the left shows one of the Ricoh camera shots. Figs. 12 and 13 below show the scene from a different viewing angle and from video-camera frames when the zoom lens was not employed and when it was fully employed, respectively (focal length of the video camera going from 12 to 75 mm). The videotaping lasted about six minutes, and the time for the lens to advance from no zoom to full zoom was between 3 and 4 seconds. This zooming, and Figs. 12 & 13, indicate that the hovering craft and the tree are both at about the same distance from the camera, and that this distance must be appreciable. From Fig. 12 below one may notice that to the right another tree top shows up, with its lower portion eclipsed by the same ridge that eclipses the lowest part of the central tree, much of which is shaded from skylight by the hovering craft.

From the estimate of tree size, one may then estimate the size of the wedding-cake craft. Now, according to Professor of Forest Management, J. D. Brodie of Oregon State University, who gave me his opinion in 1986, the tree's height was only 3 to 7 meters (10-23 ft) tall. On the other hand, if the annual top growth is a typical 0.3 to 0.4m (12 to 16 inches; see Fig. 8), the tree's height comes out to be 5.5 to 7.3m, (plus whatever portion of the lower trunk lies unseen below the brow of the ridge). Hence a 7m height seems reasonable for the tree.
 Fig. 12. Wedding-cake craft in front of tree.
Brightness enhanced. No zoom used at this time.
From FIGU's "Ausschnitte-Reportage" videotape.
 Fig. 13. Similar shot when full zoom was employed.
Brightness enhanced.

Then the diameter of the craft turns out to be 3.5m, which agrees with previous estimates for the smaller, remotely controlled craft. Its distance away, from Fig. 11, is then suggested to be about 70m (230 ft).

When viewing the video, one may hear the sound of the zoom mechanism cranking the lens out; Meier zoomed in and out on the craft twice. This video was presented by Michael Hesemann at the 8th Annual International UFO Congress, 1999, and a videotape of its projection, entitled "The Reopening of the Meier Case" is available from the conveners. From it and its sound track one can be certain that it was a continuous video-taping not interrupted by any shut-downs & movements of the camera equipment; i.e., the two zoom-ins-and-back were genuine, and could not have been staged through shutting down the video-tape, moving six times closer to the tree, turning it on again, etc.

At one point in the tape one may observe Meier off to one side, to use his photo camera, while the tripod-mounted video camera ran unattended. According to Meier, Quetzal was standing behind him at the time, and for a while one can hear Meier speaking to him. The translation goes as follows, thanks to Christian Frehner of F.I.G.U.:

"Ja, isch guet." = "Ja, ist gut." --- Yes, fine [it's good]. [In the background you hear a chain saw.]

"OK" --- "OK"

"Ganz? Ja." --- "(The) whole (distance)? Yes." [meaning: zooming away]

"Ich hole die andere Kamera." --- "I go and get the other camera."

"Siehst du, jetzt kommen die auch noch." --- "Do you see, they are coming also." [meaning: the Swiss Army jet fighter plane that is heard passing over them.]

"Was meinst du, hält der Bleimantel? Wir werden dann sehen." --- "What do you think, does the lead sheeting hold? We will see."

"Aber weisst du, wenn du ein bisschen rund um den Baum drehen könntest. So steht es immer am selben Ort." --- "But you know, if you could turn a bit around the tree. In this way it remains at the same location all the time."

"Geht nicht? OK." --- "That's not possible? OK."

"Testen wir erst mal, ob es klappt mit dem Bleimantel." --- "Now let's test whether the lead sheeting is working."

"Ich nehm's nochmals her." --- "I take it in again."

"Ja, weisst du, herzoomen." --- "Yes, you know, zooming in."

"Ja, weisst du, wenn du rüber gehen könntest, ein bisschen ..." --- "Yes, you know, if you could move [it] to the side, a little bit ..."

"Was, schon wieder!" --- "What, again!"

"Da kommt jemand!" --- "Someone is coming!" [It could be Billy saying this, or Quetzal. When I asked him, Billy didn't know for sure either.]

So the video-taping ended at this point, and unfortunately Meier did not get to tape the departure of the craft. It is seen above that he twice tried to persuade Quetzal to move the remote-controlled craft while the video-tape camera ran, but Quetzal never did. This may have been part of the Pleiadian/Plejaren strategy of plausible deniability, so that skeptics who can't accept the reality of the UFO phenomenon could have something to be suspicious about. This might allow such a skeptic to assume the UFO was a large model somehow attached rigidly to the tree.

The above mention of lead sheeting pertains to some sort of lead shielding that Meier had constructed around the video camera to protect its video-tape, after the tape used on March 26th had been rendered useless by the close proximity of the similar craft. Evidently the shielding was sufficient for the considerable distance they were away from this craft.

It is not known or understood by what means Quetzal could control the wedding-cake craft remotely.

An enlarged view of the craft as photographed from the location where both Meier and Quetzal were standing, using a high resolution photo scanner in 2013, is shown here.

Wedding-cake craft photographed at night. An especially eerie feature of this craft is that it can be made to exhibit a gold coloration all over, possibly self-illuminated. This occurred on two occasions. The first was on 2 August 1981 (Fig. 14),
 Fig. 14. A wedding-cake craft, with auto below,
both behind a tree. Meier's photo #999.
 Fig. 15. Picture taken about a minute later.
Meier's photo #1000.
around 02:18 in the night. At this time Meier was away from home, in Altmatt; the auto is on the main street headed SSW towards Rotenthurm, a town some 15 km SE of Zug, Switzerland. Meier was informed that this was a 14m diameter craft, although it appears to be virtually identical to the 7m and/or 3.5m diameter craft we have already viewed. If 14 m in diameter, the camera equation indicates it was 50m (165 ft) distant. The auto, which seems not to have been moving though on the main street and containing a driver, is estimated to have been nearly 30 m distant (97 ft) if it was 17 ft long. A nearer tree in leaf eclipses a portion of both the wedding-cake craft and the car (its trunk). If this tree's width extended 8 ft, it was then some 60 ft distant.

The squiggly line in the upper left of Fig. 14 was made, Meier was told, by a tiny, very rapidly maneuvering "telemeter" disc associated with the craft.

To maintain his sanity here, a negative skeptic must ignore the three previously discussed cases evincing genuineness, and assume that the tree is a tiny toy tree very close to the camera, the auto a toy car placed a few feet behind it, and the wedding-cake craft a model UFO suspended a few feet farther away. He might then assume the squiggly line to be an irregularly bent wire.

About a minute later, according to Meier's Verzeichnis record, he shot the photo of Fig. 15; his notes inform us that this was a different craft, a 7m craft. The touch of light green at the top is a tree branch too close to be at all in focus. The car is now 11.6 m (or 38 ft) distant; if the 7m diameter for the craft is correct, it was some 16.5 m (54 ft) away. Meier had evidently advanced nearly 60 ft closer to the car and road after taking photo #999. This suggests that the low hanging tree-branch tip is part of the same tree as in photo #999.

A tiny bit of the edge of the 14m craft appears at the same time in the upper left corner of another photo in this series taken at about the same time (see photo No. 24 of And Yet...They Fly or photo No. 26 of the German edition, ...Und Sie Fliegen Doch, which best shows it).

Considering the relative degree of focus of the car in the two photos, it seems likely to me that Meier mistakenly reversed the identity of the two craft in photos #999 and #1000, with the former one being of 7m diameter and latter one 14m diameter. If so, the above estimated distances to the craft would need to be altered accordingly: in #999 the craft would then be only 15 ft closer than the car, while in #1000 it would be 70 ft farther away than the car. This car was believed by Meier to be a Mercedes, but a 2-door Rolls-Royce Camargue of late 1970s vintage looks to be a better fit to me.

The second such photo occasion for Meier occurred three nights later, again in the middle of the night, right over the parking area in front of Meier's residence at Hinterschmidrüti.
 Fig. 16. Here and below, one of the wedding-cake craft
at night, at Meier's residence, 5 Aug. 1981. Photo #873.
The craft was hovering low, and Meier recalls having taken the picture from partway up the hill just south of the residence and adjacent parking area. A total of four pictures survive from this occasion. The craft at night has taken on a totally different color, uniform throughout, except mainly for the ring of red "crystals," as W. Stevenshas called them. Interestingly, despite this, its many spheroids and flat circumferential surfaces still reflect light specularly.

As usual, we do not know the purposes of any of the detailed constructs it exhibits, unless one purpose is to provide ornamentation allowing skeptics to claim it is a model composed of household artifacts, so that they not be forced to believe what may be totally unacceptable to them. Although there seems to be nothing in this photo to indicate the craft's size, a recent (2012 or 2013) scan-up of its original film using higher resolution reveals more:

An analysis by Rhal Zahi reveals a pole and its shadow at the base of the hillside, along which appears to be a footpath: .

The pole and WCUFO arein the same good focus. These features are consistent with Meier's report that the craft was hovering over the Center's paved parking area, and hence was a large craft.

Debunkers' attempts. The primary claim that would-be debunkers have made against this series of photos is that the lower body of the wedding-cake craft is comprised of a garbage-can lid of the type that is used at the FIGU residence in Hinterschmidrüti.
 Fig. 17. A visitor (Philip McAiney) at Meier's
residence holding up garbage-can lid, circa 1998.
This strong resemblance (compare Figs. 14 and 15) was noticed some time in the 1990s. The garbage-can lids utilized there at the FIGU Center have several evenly-spaced thin lines running around the circumference, and two protruding ledges on opposite sides, as handle grips. The real craft exhibit features that appear identical to this (see also Photo #799. Given the irrefutable evidence that the WCUFO was of very substantial size and no model, and given the perceived need for the Plejarens to build elements of plausile deniability for skeptics into their presentations to Meier, this is probably one of them and no coincidence. From examining the Meier case as a whole, it becomes clear that the Plejarens do have the capability of carefully placing an idea, even a detailed design, into a selected person's head, unknown to him.

Where the resemblance to the lid ends, however, is that there is comprehensive structure on the craft's underside (see Fig. 8), obviously not present on the garbage-can lid. There is an outer circumferential ridge around the top of the garbage-can lid (see Fig. 17, where the visitor's right thumb and forefinger straddle the ridge), not present atop the wedding-cake craft (see Fig. 16). There's also a flange around the bottom base of the craft, not present on the garbage-can lid. The negative skeptic must assume that someone somehow snugly attached a flange to the base of the plastic lid, somehow smoothly filled in and leveled the top of the lid, before adding arrays of complicated adornments on top, and then also assume that all the camera depth-of-field considerations can be ignored. These are unreasonable assumptions in view of either the great difficulty for any hoaxer to achieve the result seen, or the several points of undeniable reality brought out by the daytime photos and videotape of the wedding-cake craft we have already viewed. In addition, the garbage-can lids are made of black plastic whereas the wedding-cake craft were a reflective silvery color in Meier's daytime photos and a reflective golden color at night. Thus, the garbage-can lid hypothesis fails to fit the data on far too many important points.

As far as FIGU members are concerned, they only had to point out that they had not purchased that make and style of garbage can until several years later than 1980-81. A strong suspicion exists, however, that around that time one of the Pleiadians/Plejarens implanted the design of the garbage-can lid into the mind of a garbage-can manufacturer whose product would later be sold in cities near Schmidrüti. If so, this would be another example of alien "damage control" to ensure that the Meier case, with all its photographic evidence, would not by itself cause a premature rupture of the UFO coverup. From what Meier has reported being told in his contacts, the Pleiadian/Plejaren ETs can, if desired, either remotely implant or erase selected memories within selected persons' minds; and from many UFO abduction cases we know that other aliens can also implant or cover up memories within the mind. Meier's Contact Report #22 (28 May 1975) makes especially interesting reading where Meier was told by Semjase that they could apply this capability to him, whereupon he objected most strenuously if they were to attempt that.

The other main attempt to debunk the wedding-cake craft has been by Korff (Spaceships of the Pleiades, pp. 215-217). One of the photos of 22 Nov., 1980 (see also plate #21 in Moosbrugger's And Yet...They Fly), seems to show an irregularity, which Korff implied was "warpage" of a model UFO. The "warpage" appears just below the lowest tier of spheres and about 30 degrees around from the front-center to the right, but it does not seem to show up in the two photos from this series that I possess (Fig. 1 above, and Photo #799). In Fig. 1 it appears that the shading reflected by the carriage house just behind the camera may have caused an apparent deviation in circularity of the "rim" just underneath the lowest tier of spheres. No warpage. It is not clear if this seeming deviation is an asymmetry in design or an effect of the discrete shadowing. No such asymmetry or "warpage" shows up in the photos of wedding-cake craft taken a half year later under daytime or nighttime lighting conditions; e.g., see the other photos above.

However, the rest of the craft is not totally symmetric, with a couple of the "spheres" in the lowest and middle tiers looking different from the others. We cannot just assume that all particular aspects of an alien craft must be perfectly symmetric, when we don't know what purposes these particulars may serve. It is especially important not to make this assumption when the aliens have good reason to provide negative skeptics with needed bits of plausible deniability. If we ignore this precaution we are, in essence, assuming that surely any aliens visiting Earth, though possessing far superior technology, would not be smarter than we are and not have a strategy for dealing with us that involves covertness and some accompanying deception.

This line of reasoning also takes into account the numerous instances of UFOs in the past 40 years that have been reported to have changed their shape or appearance while being observed. For example, see Georgina Bruni's You Can't Tell the People, (London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 2000), p. 72, regarding the Rendlesham Forest case. Or in Google search for "UFO change shape" for thousands of cases.

Somehow the technology thousands or millions of years more advanced than ours is capable of achieving this kind of "magic," which, in the case of the Plejarens, could render it a simple matter for them to temporarily alter the outward appearance of their craft, when desired.

Korff went on to suggest that the circumferential band between the 2nd and 3rd tiers of spheres was a bracelet, and that protrusions extending out from between some of the spheres below it were carpet tacks. He presumably did not even consider that he had been duped by an alien strategy of plausible deniability, and did not point out any of the several convincing points of reality shown on this web page, which show that the width of the wedding-cake craft was at least an order of magnitude greater than that of a garbage-can lid. He also did not seem to be aware that by 1980-81 Meier was using the Ricoh camera, whose focusing mechanism worked properly unlike that of the Olympus camera he had used in 1975-76.

If we check out Korff's model claim against the camera's depth-of-field for that photo series, we find it doesn't work well. Let's take a diameter of 3 inches for the claimed bracelet, which being about one quarter the diameter of the claimed model, gives the latter a one-foot diameter. From the camera equation and the photo in Fig. 1, we then find the claimed model would have had to be very close to the camera—only 1.7 ft away. Then, because it's in excellent focus, we choose a focus distance of 1.7 ft. For an f-stop setting of 11, which gives a maximal depth of field, we then find the depth of field to lie between 1.58ft and 1.75 ft, which is extremely limited as one would expect for any such close-up. Thus Meier's residence in the distance would be rather far out of focus, being about 100 ft away. However, we see that it is only a little out of focus, with the windows and their edges showing clearly. This indicates the object was significantly larger than Korff imagined and situated farther away from the camera.

Since these early attempts to debunk the "WCUFO" photos, other attempts have come along. These have been well refuted by Michael Horn in his website and blog and by others.

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